Detective Jonathan Jenkins
Detective Jonathan Jenkins put down the bottle of alcohol as soon as he hung up with Thompson Rogers and put some coffee on to brew, time to sober up he thought. First things first, find Dr. Jacobs. Maybe he could shed some light on the strange events periodically plaguing the small parish.
A master at multitasking, Detective Jonathan Jenkins set out zealously on the phone to procure Dexter’s services again as he feverishly typed on the computer to find Dr. Jacobs. With the use of Dr. Jacobs’ cell phone he would track him down using GPS. He had been lying in a flea bag motel in the outskirts of Royal Bay. He stopped and took a quick whiff of his clothing; the alcohol had exuded from his body, soaking his clothing but he declined another drink. He decided he would take a hiatus from getting drunk, he wanted to keep it professional and he had an obligation to keep his partner safe. This time he felt a growing justification because he saw and believed the bizarre events and would be backed up and then everybody else would believe him.
He felt the gray stubble growing on his chin. No need to shave this time, he thought, satisfied the stubble had not grown out long enough to make him look like a homeless man. He picked out a black T-shirt among so many black shirts from the laundry room; he took off his old musty shirt and put on a clean shirt then went over to the bathroom medicine cabinet. Next a vigorous almost obscene spritzing of his body spray to mask the alcohol smells that he had sweated out. He had picked up another personal firearm since the police confiscated his snub-nosed 38 caliber revolver after the shooting at Michael Miller’s shack. Though technically he was still on hiatus from the Batchelor Police Department he grabbed his badge. He blew on the disposable plastic straw hooked up onto a breathalyzer. Unconsciously tapping his foot as he waited the results, it finally beeped, “good” he thought aloud, it was at the legal limit and going down.
He finally made his way out the door and was checking the ATV now. A squad car would be impossible in this instance. Dexter may pick up a scent that takes them into terrain made impossible to navigate in any other vehicle except a 4 x 4 again. Newly washed, shiny and clean, with a 281cc motor and was secured in the bed of the truck. Jenkins jumped in, inserted and turned the key in the truck, plugged in Dr. Jacobs’ address into the GPS then he rolled out of the driveway, finally on his way.
“You know, it doesn’t vindicate you at all…” the ghost said to him, sitting in the passenger side of the truck, eyes forward, watching the road ahead, “just because you didn’t hallucinate the fangs and claws coming toward you this time, you did shoot me, your only son, and I don’t have fangs and claws.”
Jenkins searched for his cigarettes and lighter, trying to ignore his son. Finding a box of Generic full flavor 100’s he quickly put a cigarette in his mouth, putting flame on the tobacco until the end of the cigarette began to smoke. He angrily breathed in the thick smoke then calmly exhaled the cancerous plume.
The scathing comment had been made by his own imaginative ghost, but it hurt him deeply anyway. He sucked on his cigarette, drag after drag, trying to ignore the ghost of his son, he didn’t turn his head and acknowledge him whatsoever but he knew his son sat beside him. All around him he felt his son’s presence.
He had mixed feelings about teaming up with Capt. Thompson Rogers; he had an uneasy feeling about his growing relationship with him. He worried his relationship would only bring Rogers down, ostracizing him. He worried about all of the bridges that were burned, all over the state, black flagged in all of Louisiana. He worried his association would forever ruin Rogers’ career.
“Boy, you’re pretty hard on yourself, Dad.” The ghost said, as if he could read Jenkins mind. The ghost placed a hand on his shoulder and detective Jenkins felt a cold chill run through him.
Jenkins ignored his dead son as he finally arrived at the motel. The place looked as if it was abandoned. The grass had grown out of control. The weeds had grown wildly and were overtaking the once manicured gravel parking lot. The sidelights and the vacancy sign had blown out. Even the letters making up the sign for the motel had been stolen long ago. He saw a drastic difference to the property lines scattered throughout the area. A gun shop, a payday loan hut, and a pawn shop all had a straight manicured line all the way to the yard, in contrast to the unknown motel’s unkempt lawn.
Detective Jenkins opened the truck door and stepped out onto the overgrown lawn taking his time to look around at his environment. He didn’t see it, but he felt sure that the ghost of his son got out too.
He had seen Dr. Jacobs’ car before, a cream M6 BMW with beige, leather interior. He knew from just his brief interactions that this car was the doctor’s pride and joy. He washed it once a day at least, probably twice if it sat in the parking lot under a tree. His finger trailed down the rear bumper quarter panel to the hood of the car. He looked down at the grime coating his finger he could tell by the grime and dust that Dr. Jacobs’ hadn’t driven it in a long while.
The proprietor had informed him of Dr. Jacobs’ room number. He looked into the windows. Dust and cobwebs graced the panes of glass. Dr. Jacobs had wrapped the inner panel of the windows in aluminum foil, in what he supposed was an attempt to block out the sunlight.
“Something is really wrong here, I can feel it!” warned the ghost.
Again Detective Jenkins ignored him. Although he didn’t turn around he knew the ghost still wore the same clothing, dark sweatpants a hooded sweatshirt. It was what he wore for his homecoming where his father, Detective Jenkins, had accidentally shot him. The blood stains were still there, though strangely there were no bullet holes in the fabric. In fact, he learned long ago not to look at him closely because when he did, sudden flashes from the night of the shooting ran through his mind’s eye.
Of course he hated to admit it but his dead son’s comment rang true. Farmland as far as the eye can see ran adjacent to the main highway and now only a few houses dotted this side of the street for mile or so. The well-maintained, tidy house with the clean lawn stood a half an acre away leaving the motel lonely and foreboding. The once inviting flower garden with its roses, lilies, and daisies now neglected and dead, no pedals remained. He likened it to an old B-horror movie, the old ax murdering, cannibalistic, inbred murderer, or alleged haunted house from myth and legend. The kind you whispered about in your misbegotten youth. Suddenly he busted out with laughter standing at the edge of the lawn imagining that at any moment the door would burst open and out might come a hook-nosed witch waiting to turn him into a frog.
“Regardless, I need to see him, son.” Detective Jenkins said opening the screen door.
He froze for a moment his arm rested in mid-air, making a fist, ready to knock on the door, though, gathering his wits about him before he knocked quietly.
Although he himself could hardly hear the knock the door opened almost at once, revealing a disheveled and wild-eyed Dr. Jacobs. He had opened the door so swiftly Detective Jenkins gasped wide-eyed for a second before regaining his composure.
Detective Jenkins could tell Dr. Jacobs had not changed his clothing nor had a shower in days. Dr. Jacobs tried his best to shield his eyes, sunken blood-shot orbs, from the blinding sun.
“Detective Jenkins, um, oh, what can I do for you?” Dr. Jacobs quietly asked, squinting from the light, as if the sun rays actually stabbed his eyes.
Dr. Jacobs’s appearance hit him like a ton of bricks. Detective Jenkins had had dealings with Dr. Jacobs from time to time. He thought he knew what Dr. Jacobs looked like but this incarnation of the doctor had him dumbstruck. Instead of Jacobs’ familiar brown hair, which had a multitude of thinning gray hairs on the temples, his hair had become fuller, but was now completely silver in color.
Detective Jenkins eyes gravitated towards Dr. Jacobs’ belt examining the prongs protruding out of the improvised hole in Dr. Jacobs’ belt. The doc had punched several different holes in the black leather belt to accommodate his shrinking size. Three amateurish holes of varying sizes told Detective Jenkins Dr. Jacobs had lost weight at an accelerated rate.
He had lost all natural, healthy color from his skin, his skin now ghost-like in complexion, almost sickly, though no lines of age could be seen anymore. He momentarily wondered if the doctor was not wearing makeup but dismissed the idea. His T-shirt was stretched around his thick neck, trapezius and chest, however, his shirt hung outrageously loose in the mid-drift, but revealed his bare skin, stopping short before his hips.
“Yes, Dr. Jacobs, I just wanted to speak with you for a second. You have been a hard man to track down. May I come in?” He asked politely.
He looked into his eyes. A brilliant dazzling gray with flecks of green, he tried to remember, were Dr. Jacobs’ eyes always that color? He had a surprisingly hungry and aggressive glint in his eyes, cunning and selfassured eyes; animal-like eyes.
“Come in, come in.” Dr. Jacobs said finally, holding his arm out to hold the screen door open to accommodate the detective.
Detective Jenkins notice Dr. Jacobs’ engorged biceps and forearms. He had well-defined muscles that had the veins protruding on his arms, a stark contrast from the flabby, soft upper arms that he seemed to recall. If he didn’t know better he would’ve sworn that he had used a lethal amount of steroids to get inflated so quickly. In fact, despite his sickly appearance, his all-around pasty visage his spine now stood up straight and tall. He had a spring in his step. He blinked rapidly unsure his eyes were playing tricks on him as he examined Dr. Jacobs’ ears a little closer. They seemed to come alive with every minute sound nearby as the motel room settled with age. His ears were moving like a radar dish able to focus in on a signal.
As Detective Jenkins stepped past the doctor and into the room, out of the corner of his eye he noticed his dead son standing immobile, motionless. Like an uncanny force, a powerful presence, this had Philip spooked.
“If it’s all the same to you, Dad, I’ll wait here.” The ghost of his son said quietly, his head turned downward toward the ground while kicking rocks at his feet.
Detective Jenkins acknowledged the ghost of his son with a nod. He guessed he would have to go into the house alone. He entered the room and shut the front door behind him. Dr. Jacobs walk into the kitchenette. Jenkins would have lost sight of him were it not for a windowless partition stopping waist high in the bedroom room.
“Forgive me, would you like a drink?” Dr. Jacobs said, and didn’t wait for the answer before pouring two glasses of homemade sweet tea, offering one glass to the detective.
“Yes, please…” Detective Jenkins stuttered, taking in the doctor’s remarkable transformation head to toe, “I would love a drink.”
An uncomfortable silence hung in the air as both men sipped on their tea. In fact, both of the men sat in silence for almost five minutes before the doctor took out a sphygmomanometer, a digital blood pressure cuff, fastened it onto his bicep and pressed the button to inflate it.
The floodgates came open when detective Jenkins asked three simple words “Are you sick?”
Dr. Jacobs stopped what he was doing for a moment, then he answered, “well, I guess, technically I’m not…”
He checked the blood pressure display, 99 systolic over 66 diastolic pressures, his heart rate read at 61 beats per minute. Satisfied with that reading he explained further, “I feel fine. In fact, my body feels extraordinary.”
He took a drink of his tea and leaned forward. “I tested myself for various types of flu, typhoid, rabies, lockjaw smallpox, even the human immunodeficiency virus, down to the bubonic plague, and all came up negative … We have had a visit from the Center of Disease Control, but finding nothing coupled by the fact that eventually I and all the sick patients got better, they too were at a loss…” Dr. Jacobs said quietly, more for himself than for the detective.
Before continuing Dr. Jacobs gulped a massive amount of tea from his glass, then he felt he had to validate some of the worry and doubt plaguing Detective Jenkins…
“Listen I think I saw what you saw in the morgue…” Dr. Jacobs paused turning his gaze away from detective Jenkins and down toward the kitchen table, “fangs and long blackened claws, but coming from this animated abomination that I thought you had already shot and killed!”
He shivered just thinking about the day that the corpse sat up and dragged itself toward him. He would not even believe his own eyes were it not a fact that he had been mauled.
Suddenly an exotic aroma wafted in and faint music could be heard. His eyes instinctively locked in on the scent but Jenkins made his way in the darkness and found a light switch which turned on the lights in the room. A suddenly dazzling incandescence light above the doctor made him squint even with the dark sunglasses to shield his eyes.
Dr. Jacobs had been used to the dark for so long he howled out in pain, “Fuck, turned the lights off, please!”
“Are you all right?” The detective asked with sincerity in his voice.
“I was attacked by that kid, Cody, but as I told you I tested myself and I felt fine or I thought I was fine until the first full Moon,” just saying this string of words filled him with embarrassment, an uneasy smile crossed his face imagining he was in a low-budget horror movie.
Phillip the ghost had seemingly mustered the courage to step into the hotel room and was now standing between the bedroom and the kitchenette. When Dr. Jacobs stood up Phillip rushed to his dad’s side to protect him.
“Pssst!” Phillip nudged his father to get his attention, making cold chills run down his arm.
Phillip had diverted Jenkins’ attention to the doctor’s dirty old Dockers slacks, now high waters. He could see the doctor’s socks and hairy legs, was the doctor always that tall? He wondered.
Already the detective’s mind raced; there were so many pathogens that could catch a ride on dirty nails, including blood. He could not count the times that a suspect was apprehended using the DNA from the victim’s fingernails… The doctor spoke further, interrupting his train of thought.
The detective thought that the doctor was reading his mind when he said, “I’m not sure but I think I may have been infected by a blood born pathogen… I know when I looked at that monster’s claws they were growing and bleeding.” He began to pace as he spoke, making the ghostly form beside Jenkins tense up.
“That’s when I started to test my DNA… I figured I would catch this little bug somewhere in the process. But it was an utter failure, it remained hidden. However, now my DNA is somehow changed, every time I tested it, it spits out a tainted, contaminated or inconclusive result.” Dr. Jacobs paused a moment eyeing the empty glass that sat before him.
“He only scratched me! But in a few weeks I started to feel strange…” The doctor paused for emphasis, “I went outside to get some fresh air. I felt drawn to look up into the sky, an urge to look at the brilliance of the full Moon that’s when something strange took over me…”
Detective Jenkins took a small drink of his tea, careful not to consume it all and gestured for Dr. Jacobs to continue.
“Like I was saying, I went outside and looked into the full Moon for the first time since I was attacked and… I lost time, somehow. I found myself at a strip mall in a parking lot and I was confused about how I got there.” Dr. Jacobs confessed.
“My limbs unresponsive I watched helplessly while my body instinctively responded fueled by instinct and senses. I heard the sound of a huge raccoon and I cornered it in the open-air atrium next to the theater… stopping to look at my reflection in the coming attractions poster I become horrified with what I saw!” He clutched the back of his chair.
He described the horrid scene. The doctor described the appearance of a mutated freak, his skin stretched and thickened, his forehead lengthened, his eyes widened. The doctor’s nose had simultaneously elongated and flattened, leaving his nostrils broader. He had a massive chin and on his lips an eerie smile. His arms and hands were below his waist. His body had stretched out. The change had been drastic, but he could pass for human, or at least an ugly bipedal humanoid.
The noise of a passing train combined with a boisterous crowd from a movie theater nearby made him come to his senses just in time for the moon to become obscured by the gray clouds. Panic overwhelmed him, a fear of being seen. He whipped his head around wildly examining his surroundings. Where he stood on the sidewalk streetlights graced either side surrounding him in light. Nevertheless, a wastebasket and large bush cast a large shadow on the brick store wall. He stepped back onto the grass where he would be hidden. The skittish humanoid managed to crouch down between the bushes and the wastebasket, but a large group of intoxicated individuals saw a large form in the shadows and headed towards his direction.
“Hey you!” Freddy, the tall, fat tattooed man who was obviously the leader of the group with black, cutoff sleeved shirt and dirty, torn jeans yelled with a thick southern Louisiana accent, “hey you! You sick or somethin’?”
Shadows concealing Dr. Jacobs’s horrid form he turned around to face the tall man his heart rate increasing. Against the protesting group the tall man pulled out a large hunting knife.
“Why don’t ya giva me all your money!” The fat man spit.
“What’s wrong with him?” A young girl whispered to her friend who just shrugged with uncertainty, she couldn’t help but stare at his face still obscured by shadow.
The crowds had broken off and went in separate directions, thinned out and dissipated. Nobody noticed the group as they got into their cars and drove away. A thinner, shorter man named Jake with worried brown eyes and a grey goatee came up to the leader and placed his hands on his shoulder.
“I don’t know if dats such a good idea. I think something is severely wrong wit him. He looks like an escaped mental patient if you ask me.” the man with the worried brown eyes warned.
According to Dr. Jacobs, he heard a strange growl, a deafening warning, but it shocked him because the growling had come out of his own throat. Breathing quickened his heart racing out of control. The synapses in his limbs shut down no longer under voluntary control just instinct. No thought just reaction, Freddy attempted to thrust his blade but the Doc moved with blinding speed, crushing the fat man’s hand.
“Ahhhhhhhhh!” the fat man’s eyes widened as he sought help from his friends “help me, Jake!”
“I’ll save you, Freddy!” A short, thin man exclaimed instead of running away like the rest of his friends, who fled at the first sign of trouble.
The plea too little, too late the Doc still had control of Freddy’s shattered forearm and pulled the man closer. His dangerous teeth bit down on the man’s fleshy tattooed triceps like a vice. His pleas turned into curdled screams, blood spurting out like fountain.
The lunatic Doctor threw the fat man into the store front. The wind left the fat man as he slammed horizontally into the plate glass window. The glass relented and smashed into a million pieces. Alarms blared as the fat man named Freddy hit the glass strewn floor like so much discarded litter.
Jake, the thin man, whipped out a small caliber handgun from his pants pocket but the doctor pounced on him before he could fire. His body crumbled onto the sidewalk. His chest and arms pinned down by the drooling mutation Jake shut his eyes waiting for the inevitable. But the cornucopia of sound had the doc’s ears ringing. He could not stand the noises any longer, putting his elongated arms up to cover his ears. The piercing noise of the alarm and the police sirens growing closer the doctor hit his chest as a warning then jumped off Jake’s body and ran towards the shadows on all fours.
Detective Jenkins could just imagine eyewitnesses and investigating police officers on scene. Though some had dealt with him daily he knew from just looking at the Doc in the hotel room they would not identify him. His face so twisted, even his own mother wouldn’t recognize him.
“I can hear the howls calling me, instructing me, sometimes even ordering me to do things that only my sensitive ears could hear. Then my heart rate slowed and steadied again and I regained my senses.” Dr. Jacobs explained.
Dr. Jacobs turned his back to detective Jenkins, “I forgot all about that strange experience until his bloated corpse came into my morgue. When I saw his face frozen in horror that horrible flashback knocked me on my ass… I remembered killing him then, disemboweling him. I did that monstrous thing …” Dr. Jacobs softly whispered.
Babbling now, Dr. Jacobs continued, “Though I was still human like in appearance, I know because I looked into the reflection on the car, I felt so potent… Like a power lifter on steroids…”
“My curiosity as a scientist got the better of me,” Dr. Jacobs motioned at the heart monitor, “I could almost reproduce the nearly orgasmic experience by controlling my breathing and heart rate…but…”
He poured more tea as Dr. Jacobs confessed, “my dad was a man of science and my mother was a woman of faith so I inspired to be both. But I studied medicine first, and then got a job dealing with death all day long. I believe in God, but I also believe in the physical world, where death is a certainty… it left me a little jaded.”
“With my own eyes I saw a corpse come alive healing the numerous wounds that killed him in the first place… Only God should have control over such miracles…” Dr. Jacobs’ muttered a Bible verse, with gray eyes that seemed to implore his help in some way, “God made man in his image”…
“I think I’m becoming a monster!”
“But you’re afraid of the beast inside you. Are you not?” Detective Jenkins questioned.
“Yes… I’m afraid… But not of the beast inside of me, I’m afraid when I let loose the beast I’m going to like it! Eventually it will overtake me I will revel in its immense power. I have been raised as a Christian, I am afraid for my immortal soul!” Dr. Jacobs confessed his face contorted in agony.
Detective Jenkins reached to put his arm around Dr. Jacobs to comfort him, “I don’t think you have anything to worry about!”
The detective walked away from Dr. Jacobs and paced into the front room where aluminum foil covered the windows. Dr. Jacobs was a man conflicted, two minds at odds with each other. He could do worse than to recruit Dr. Jacobs he thought. Dr. Jacobs looked human, nothing like the monster that he encountered, he would be fine. He had already learned a great deal on the inflicted by Dr. Jacobs’ actions, sensitivity to light could come in useful. Altogether three dangerous encounters had been narrowly averted and it would help to learn all that he could about “the affliction”.
Detective Jenkins had already dialed the number for the dog kennel. Despite his better judgment, he found himself offering a partnership, “come with me, we could use all the help we could get.”
Dr. Jacobs thought about this for a second and then he nodded, maybe helping him would go a long way for Dr. Jacobs’ salvation, remembering the corpse thing from his morgue. Maybe if Detective Jenkins could find others suffering the affliction just like him he could study this disease and find a cure. Doubt plagued him, but he would not give up hope.
“Okay,” Dr. Jacobs said reluctantly, “I better bring my sunglasses; the sun hurts my eyes something awful.”